so lately i’ve found myself navel-gazing and putting a lot of mental effort into things i usually don’t put a lot of purchase into internally, i suppose there are some feelings i’m feeling that snuck up on me some.
so, as a member of pretty much the first generation of people (maybe the second, depending on your threshold. b. 1998) where this was broadly possible, i grew up predominantly online. the vast majority of my meaningful relationships in my teenage years (and partially from then on) started and ran their course on the computer. of course, even more than now, most places i found myself as a child and teen online had a prohibitive assumption of male as default, but there were always dimensions where many aspects of gender presentation were inactive or optional. you never had to show anyone your face.
that’s not my problem at all, but it’s tangential. i have my dysmorphias like everyone else, but when i look in the mirror, i see me, not a stranger. i want to become more comfortable with the me i have with everyone, in every dimension of my life, but there is this manic sense where i expect total reflection of all effort i put into keeping myself afloat that is, of course, unreasonable.
i think i want to be one person everywhere as much as possible, i’ve tried to normalize using my real name with my internet friends, with them knowing what i look like, and more than that being comfortable being “internet weird”around my family and less-online friends. i am exhausted from segmenting myself to such a extensive degree and i feel like i increasingly don’t have to anymore. for the first time, i feel a sense of self-confidence (or at least an expectation that i should be feeling that) where people should take me how i come, and accept that.
that being said, there’s something about the selective gender of the entirely textual internet that i feel has imprinted on me. i dislike summing things up in a single word, that’s why i’m writing all this, but i still feel like i’m a dude, more than ever really, i wouldn’t say i feel non-binary. in the terms of language itself, which is the medium through which we construct our identities, i guess there’s a level where i need people i’ve given my heart to to appreciate me as a man (which i’ve been very lucky with to date) though i’ve spent a lot of time in queer spaces (they are often where i feel most comfortable) and thus sometimes catch myself feeling a half step out of time somehow. (i am queer, but i suppose somewhat boringly and cis-ly.)
jokes and theatrics are fine: i’m comfortable having been referred to as she while inhabiting female characters, and it’s a unique situation that neither feels inauthentic nor at the very core of who i am. it’s like dressing up as a woman for a play like in the high middle ages/renaissance i suppose. but as long as i know the person appreciates me as a dude, i feel totally comfortable. but there is also this sense where i can be ‘they’, but in a way that doesn’t feel “part of my unitary identity” as much as “a separable slice that i can operate with based on the social situation.”
if that last part is just gibberish, please let me know! i found myself writing this on a whim and now i’m here goodness gracious